Getting your kids involved with your Whole30

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Welcome to the Thunderdome. You’ve done it. You want to get your kids involved with your Whole30 because seriously who wants to cook all day long? Also – I’m pretty sure you’d love to get your kids to eat more protein and vegetables. Before you anticipate the moans and groans coming from the kids, I’m here to help you get on the offensive and you won’t have to hear the tantrums.

  1. Let’s start at the basics – have them help you plan.

Keep a stack of Whole30 cookbooks (we love Fast & Easy & Slow Cooker), your smart device at the ready, and really any cookbook that you know will have easily modified recipes. You will also want to keep a stack of sticky notes or flags at the ready. We like to keep yellow ones for Meal 1 (aka breakfast), blue for Meals 2 & 3 (aka lunch & dinner), and pink ones for their snacks or my pre- / post- workout meals. You can also very easily just make it simple – batch meal prep 3 – 4 types of proteins, roast 3 kinds of vegetables, and have some at the ready for fresh bowls.

Now, this may be difficult because you’ll likely want to take charge of the menu planning but let them have at it. If a recipe doesn’t have a photo, explain what it is to your kids. Your children will want to be part of the decision making process. We typically make Thursday nights our “Menu Planning” night. Each kid gets their set of sticky notes to prevent that infighting that can (does) happen. We also like to flip through recipes online (hey there # on instagram). If we find one there, I make a note on a sticky note where we found it and place it to the side.We typically eat leftovers for meal 2 in our house and the kids love taking their lunch boxes to school and showing their friends what they are eating.

2. Make the grocery list a game for them.

Go down the list of ingredients with your kids. If they’re learning how to read, perfect they can sound out what the ingredients are and practice their literacy skills. If they’re ready for a challenge, have them tell you what kind of item that is. We typically separate ours in vegetables, fruits, then proteins, fats, and canned items. 

3. Let’s go shopping (or not)

We no longer do this… thank you grocery delivery! However, when we were doing this, or if my kids really want to go I highly encourage this because it really helps them appreciate the food and be part of the process. Show them exactly how to find the ripe items. Show them why you prefer to purchase organic and lean cuts of meat.

4. Prep & cook

I recommend you don’t meal prep on the days you go grocery shopping but sometimes you just do what you have to do. No matter the age (unless they’re strapped to you in a carrier), the kids can still very much be part of the process. Have them wash the vegetables you’re about to prep up. For us carrots, celery, cucumbers, sweet peppers are all part of the fun and games. They can easily help you wash them off, once you’ve cut the produce get them into containers to pop in the fridge. We really enjoy batch meal prep and making a buffet for the week. If we know that we’re going to have ground beef a few times in the week – we just brown it up and have it ready for the meals. Hard boiled eggs take no more than 10 minutes to cook. All the while you could have a sheet pan of compliant sausage, red peppers, onions, mushrooms in the oven because you worked up an appetite meal prepping.

5. Let good enough be good enough

Some weeks you may just be like, “Nope – we’re going to Zoe’s (if you’re lucky to have one in your town),” and that’s ok. Some nights you may be coming home from your 4th baseball practice of the week and you forgot to get things in the slow cooker – but it’s ok because you batch prepped some hard boiled eggs, you have some compliant Caesar dressing (thanks Primal Kitchen), and some vegetables (don’t even stress yourself if you don’t have romaine).

Being a mom is hard, but I’ve honestly been able to find that “balance” with our family nutrition when it comes to integrating Whole30 with our lifestyle. You got this mama!

 

 

For the love of the Bullet Journal

Ryder Caroll, you crazy mastermind you. If you’re not familiar with the Bullet Journal, be prepared to go down a YouTube rabbit hole and if you get even more nuts, you’ll just head on over to instagram to look up #bujo #bulletjournal and then you’ll be spending your Sundays drawing out templates that you find from creative YouTubers that vaguely look like the creations they’ve made. No? Is this just me?

I heard about the bullet journal from a friend of mine and then a family member mentioned it on her page. What do you mean I just need a journal and a pen? Not just any journal apparently, a dotted one, or one with grids, or maybe you could use a lined one. Really, it all became too much until I put it into practice to figure out which technique I liked the most. Listen, I’m a busy mom of two and I have the hardest time focusing on projects and goals that we’ve all agreed to. I needed something that I’d actually use. Yes, I could have used the massive planners that have beautiful drawings and calligraphy on it with all of the bells and whistles when really, I just needed something that could categorize and a space where I can brain dump. Enter the Bullet Journal technique. I’m a rabid connoisseur of all things visual learning and quickly dove into what I needed to know about this radical way of documenting my days, then went off to Amazon.com (you know the site, should I link it still?) to purchase all things stationary. 

Off I went, making gridlines and figuring out what/how to make the months happen.

The first week went off great. But here’s the thing, with all agendas, the best one is one that you’ll actually use. I dove into this system during the summer when all hell broke loose (aka summer at home with two kids under 7).

So let’s just get the cons over with

  • Unlike most other forms of agendas, you will have to physically write out the month/weeks/days. If you really don’t like this or don’t like your handwriting, invest in a label maker, I’ve seen this work beautifully.
  • All of the designs. I seriously became frustrated with how I would layout my bullet journal every month to the point that I couldn’t figure out how to organize all of the things.
  • You actually have to use it in order for it to be effective. Like any other agenda, you will have to put pen to paper (see more in pros though).
  • You must take it with you everywhere (could be a great thing though see more in pros).

 

Pros (let’s end positively)

  • You design the layout you want. You design the “spread” that you will use. If you don’t like it, guess what? You don’t have to stick with it for twelve months. You can add pages as you see fit.
  • Flexibility. So much flexibility. I’m a lover of nostalgia and analyzing data – I geek out over systems and figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
  • The weight y’all – THE WEIGHT. I do not want to work out in order to carry my journal.
  • Brain dump time. I have all of the thoughts and ideas, projects, all of the things in my beautiful head, so do you. everything is easier for me to compartmentalize and organize when it’s on paper.
  • If you choose to, you can color coordinate but that just distracts my pretty brain even more and makes me do more work.
  • Ability to add in goals where I see fit.

And there you go. Are you a Bullet Journal fan? I’ll be using mine more for my next Whole30 round starting September 3rd along with planning out projects for my businesses.

Guess Who’s Back… Back Again…

Whole30. And myself. Hey there friends. It’s been a wild 7-8 months. I really cannot remember the last time I updated this beautiful blog but mothers man, mothers we deal with it ALL.

Long story short – I’m no longer a vegan. I had been dealing with some really gnarly gut issues and that insane amount of gluten that was hitting my gut even though I was trying to get away from the mass amounts of gluten (via pasta, bread, etc.), I inadvertently became a carb-oholic. I just couldn’t break free from the hold and I was firm in my belief that I needed these things in my life because I was not eating anything but vegetables, fruits, and legumes. In essence, the things I was told were healthy. This post is by no means a diss on the vegan lifestyle. If you’re here thinking that I’m the anti-vegite, you’re mistaken. You have to find out what works for you. I’m a scientist by trade (definitely not profession) and wanted to work on the best experiment, myself. 

Here’s I guess how it all started. Summer 2017 I was fed up with being diagnosed with my 7th sinus infection in 6 months. I suffered through three half marathons with them and I knew enough was enough. Around this time I was also told that I had low thyroid and vitamin D by my OB/GYN during my annual. Rather than be put on thyroid medication I opted for a second opinion – where I was roped in to take a food sensitivity test (rather than the elimination diet that was also offered).

The Day The Results Came In

With bright red under severe sensitivities (4+ on a scale of 1-4) – gluten, yeast. Is this for real? I thought gluten sensitivities were made up in the world of CrossFit and a giant marketing game from the Beef industry. But there, in red and white, was proof. Could this have been my smoking gun in my gut why I was sick for nearly a year? I was explained that my thyroid was functioning normally but my adrenals were shot. I was training for my first marathon which would have been ample reason why I was so drained. 

I left the office with the paperwork and the orders to stop consuming gluten. Yeah right. I want another opinion. What would a naturopath (and O.D.) know? Off I went to my allergist who again confirmed my tests only with a bit more severity and that I should really consult a gastroenterologist to get me a better diagnosis if I had celiac. Those tests came back inconclusive. It may be too early to diagnose celiac but if I do notice that it is giving me problems, I should probably stay away from it. I had my ticket to eat cornbread! Except it completely backfired and I ended up incredibly sick during Thanksgiving.

Okay, I’ll give you up

I knew it was time. I knew it was time to say goodbye and I had completed a few rounds of Whole30 before. I knew what I was getting myself into. I’d like to say I went slow and steady when I incorporated animal protein but I didn’t I went head on. I found the hardest thing for me to let go of was the sugar dragon. Yes, the stevia. 

Well, that was back in May 2018 and we are now here in August 2018 and I’m on my 5th Whole30 Round right now – about 16 days in. I am on my way to Food Freedom and I’d love to say this is my final Round but I don’t believe it is. I’ll probably do a post on the lingo soon but for now, I’ll enjoy my chamomile tea as it’s almost 10:30 pm and I have an early morning.

The Final Count Down… (guitar solo)

In two weeks, all the work will be done, the four months of training will be over, and I will (hopefully) have a few new pieces of hardware to add to my hook of races I’ve completed. I get told a lot, “I don’t know how you run,” “You’re crazy to be training for a marathon,” and other pleasantries. The thing is, it hasn’t been so easy. These last few weeks have been the most trying professionally, personally, and mentally.

I sat on my Facebook page looking at photos of me thanks to the “On This Day” feature and I have to do a double take. The girl staring back at me is emotionally completely different and, yes, physically I have morphed. This has never been about weight loss though. In fact, I’ve gained a few pounds since the journey began but that’s a complete different thing. It’s always been about completing something that I set out to do.

A year ago, I jokingly sent a text to my husband’s best friend Justin saying, “Hey look! Marathon sign up!” He was quick to respond back with a screen shot of a receipt that he in fact signed up. We are both those people who don’t need a lot of convincing to agree to an event. We also are the last people you would have expected to be runners. In December 2016, I walked in to the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll Expo and felt the tinge of nerves around the registration for 2017 kiosk. My future was set. December 3, 2017 I had a playdate set with Justin and we were going to do this.

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We’ve had little milestones along the way, we ran Dallas Rock ‘n Roll together. We have become plant based together, saying Justin is a vegan is definitely something his wife and I never believed would happen (he used to joke that he never ate anything green). We bought Garmins simultaneously. We have exchanged race times and have been hyper competitive in long runs (dude is at 10 minute miles while I’m trucking along at 13).

December 3rd, we will run/walk/crawl across a finish line both of us have worked so hard for and are so thankful for the friends who have cheered us on this last year. I am full of gratitude to have Justin and his amazing wife be part of this journey.

This is all to say, don’t ever doubt yourself. Embrace the failures, there are always failures. Celebrate them. Winning all the time would get boring and failure is where growth happens. Failure is where you learn the true test of self. Failure is where the heart is. I’ll get a bit Jesusy on you – He knows we fail every day. He loves us more and more. This is why The Beatitudes embrace those who struggle – there’s room for growth. And to quote Missy Elliot, “Just make sure you’re ahead of the game.”

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For now, I have a 15 mile race tomorrow! Last long run before the Marathon.

Who do you show up for?

The most humbling experience, until the next one happens. This is how I’ve approached the marathon training and pretty much life. Ready for the cliché moments? Training for a marathon has helped me more than the physical aspects; I’ve seen the growth more in my professional and personal lives than anywhere else.

You see, when you are out for a long run at 12-20 miles and you know that you need to get it done, no matter how fast or slow (speed is relative), you need to get the mileage down because that’s what will help you prepare for the race that you have coming up. You have to get everything ready and guess what? Caca happens, straight up s*h*i*t just like l-i-f-e. It just does. Just like when your five year old doesn’t want to put shoes on for the 3rd time you’ve begged yelled, you’re going to find that frustration in your runs. It’s inevitable. Sorry, sunshine.

This all came about because I had a crappy half marathon on Saturday. I was warned how difficult it was, I knew that it was going to hurt. I knew that I could do it. I set a goal of 2:30, which was going to be a great time for me. And then the race started and the first hill came and I thought, “Well… NOPE.” When I came up to 2:30 and I saw that I still had two more miles to grind through. So I finished it, at 2:56 I completed by 10th half marathon. And guess what, I did this for me. That’s who I’m ultimately running for in this journey. I’m running for all of the doubts. I’m running for all of the times I fought running. I’m running for all of the times that I loved this sport. And that’s how I want to wake up every morning. I am doing this for me.

When you show up for yourself, you are giving the world such a wonderful gift of uniquely you. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the next person is doing, you run your race of life, get those blinders on, and show up for yourself. When I run/walk/crawl across the finish line on December 3rd, I’m not going to end up with a contract with a professional organization. I’m not going to have sponsors from athletic wear (although I’m here to be your muse/model at 5’1” and 154 lbs.!). I will finish it dammit, I will finish it for all of the times I said I couldn’t do something.

– Melanie (and I didn’t get any tacos after the half, I had to rush to my daughter’s soccer game)

Training for the next week:

16 miles today

Friday – Joyride  – come ride with me some time.

Saturday – 4 miles

Sunday – 7 miles

Tuesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 5 miles

Saturday… 120 min warm up  – 3 x 5 min at 11:09 pace with 5 min recovery between, 30 min cool down

The Best Run is a Taco Run

 

So I’ve been quiet but today is National Taco Day so here I am! Training has been, well…not done outside because I’m a bit terrified. My runs have been sequestered to a *gasp* treadmill.

(I took out a segment on some health issues and will update y’all on Friday with some results)

A few weeks ago I hit a roadblock about 1/3 of the way into a 10 mile race. I overheated, I wanted to tap out. I was done, more than done. It wasn’t the prettiest ten miles and I truly hope that I don’t have another race like that again. I had thoughts of giving up go through my head. I just didn’t think I could go a step further when I felt something come inside of me around mile 8, I. just kept at it. I cried, physical tears coming out of my body as I pushed through. It was a slow 10 miles but I finished. After I saw my family at the finish line, hugged it out with them and continued on to my car and we celebrated with pizza, I texted my coach and friends of my running community along the way. There were words of doubt, words of despair against myself but through it I had friends tell me that I will do this thing that I put my mind towards.

Five years ago, you would never have caught me running a marathon, maybe a 5K but not a marathon. I’ve had a couple of health issues come up recently that I will update you all on in a few days and being a badass in the tech world along with launching a new company is taking its obvious toll on my schedule but I’m here, posting the miles/time. Yoga is now becoming a fixture in my life and I miss the heck out of weight lifting but December 3rd will be here faster than we know.

 

Up for the rest of the week:

Thursday – 45 minute run & yoga at night

Friday – yoga

Saturday – 30 min warm up (13 min/mi); 2 x 30 min at 11:56 pace with 5:00 min recovery between followed by 45 min cool down; yoga at night

Sunday – easy 4 mi; yoga

 

Enjoy your National Taco Day because I know I am!IMG_0581

Redefine Strength

strength quoteIf there is anything training for a marathon has taught me there’s this mantra that I was slapped sideways with: redefine strength. What does that even mean? Strength is obscenely subjective. I remember growing up definitely not being a typical size and having to get clothes from the Misses section. I couldn’t shop from the trendy stores like 5-7-9 (no longer in existence, kids) like my friends and I definitely couldn’t purchase clothing from a certain alphabet store that boasted washboard abs on their bags. Nope, that wasn’t me. I allowed it to eat away at my psyche that fifteen years later I’m now writing about it praying that I can give my children the emotional intelligence to know that a size does not define them, nor does a number on a scale.

If you Google search ‘redefine strength’ you will find yourself pouring through over 3 million hits of the search. You’ll find workouts, emotional blog posts, personal trainers telling you they want to change your physique. And honestly, they’re all kind of bs. Only you can define what strength is. Is strength being able to throw 500 lbs. over your head in a clean and press? Is strength being able to run 0.25 mile in under 10 minutes? Is strength being able to get out of bed in the morning and put on a smile for the world when your whole body and soul hurt? We need to stop giving numbers out as a goal.

My ideal strength is different from yours and this is ok. We need to celebrate strength wherever we can and really congratulate one another on the little victories that we achieve.

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So guess what? You’re strong. I’m strong. We are all friggin’ strong. Get on out there, scare the s*** out of the world with your strength because your strength will ignite others. So I leave you with Malala Yousafzai because she’s the strongest of strong and you know it. If you haven’t guessed – my mantra for the marathon will be redefine strength because my body can do things that I never thought possible. I want to hug that little girl who used to cry in the dressing room and say, “Girl, do you. God will fix things just right.”